Monday, March 30, 2009
Apparently my family died and the twins taken away. How? I have no clue. I thought they were on free will, but who knows. The tombstones were littered about the house (the parents were in the bedroom, one tombstone in the bathroom, the other tombstone in the other bedroom) and roaches were crawling about. So a bad case of the flu could have been to blame.
Thank goodness for exit without saving.
Johan is 40, Jadhira is 39, Myra and Naraj are 6
The fall means the start of another school year in Apple Valley and it's especially busy for the Shazad household. The twins were improving in thier grades, Naraj even brought home an A+, Myra was right behind him with a B+ and the claim that the teacher didn't like her because she kept correcting the information in the textbook.
Johan has to worry about not only Apple Valley Academy, but Pierce University as well. So the entire education system is under his control, so he's responsible for a lot. In fact, he gets his annual ulcer as usual.
"I wish we had enough money in the budget to hire a principal for AVA as well as another teacher." He tells his wife.
"Honey, let's be honest, there are only nine students enrolled in AVA, I doubt the council will give you money to hire more teachers and a principal, especially since you have Jesse employed there."
Johan nods, "You're right, maybe Jesse will be able to take over the principal position so I can free up my time to do more lectures at the university."
"Let's be honest, with the economy the way it is, I don't think much of your job situation will be changing...unless they ask you to do more, for less."
"I could get a promotion."
"That's a very slim possibility, besides, things are going well for us. We even have enough saved for our vacation, right?"
"Well...can't we use that money towards something else. Something a little more useful than a vacation?"
"Johan, you are so frugal! We are going on this vacation! You promised!"
Johan was very cheap, or frugal to put it nicely, but he did love his family and always kept a promise. So a few days later the family of four hopped on a shuttle to the ferry which transported them to the nearest airport two hours away and after a six hour flight the family landed in Schatazweitzier Mountain.
"This is where we're staying?" Naraj asked in digust when they pulled up to the site.
"I think it's cool!" Myra shouted hopping from the shuttle with her small bag. "We'll be like gypsies!"
The family quickly unloaded and Jadhira signed in at the front desk to claim thier two caravans. Inside the portable rooms, space was minimal, but the beds were comfortable and the walls colorful and full of history.
"There is still a clan of gypsies that use this site for simannual festivals." Johan said unpacking thier items into the worn dresser.
Jadhira nodded. She knew that Johan chose the site mostly due to the price of the rooms, but she had to admit, she loved the history and culture of the sight.
To start thier vacation off, the Shazads joined a tour group heading out to hike a nature trail. The entire family enjoyed the tour and learning the various names of plant and fauna species. The highlight of the trip is when a bear approaches the group. The tourists shivered in fear as the bear growled and roared, then they roared back. To thier surprise the bear ran away, though Naraj said that he didn't know that bears had zippers.
To put it mildly, the Shazads are a family of nerds. During thier vacation all they talked about doing was learning the famous slap dance or discovering how to properly greet locals. Myra and Naraj even regretted bringing thier schoolwork along so that they could work on it.
Jadhira tried to get thier children to enjoy the vacation by sharing stories around the campfire one night. Even then thier thoughts turned to school.
"Do you think we'll be able to go on a field trip this year, daddy?"
Johan shrugged. "I'm not sure, we'll have to see."
That was answer enough for Naraj, who ran off to play, but not Myra.
"See about what?"
"Uh, the educational budget." He responded, mincing no words with the child.
"Oh, you have to figure out how to properly use the money that the hood council gives you and there may not be enough for a field trip." Myra replied.
Johan nodded. That was enough answer for his daughter who joined her brother in a game of toss football, otherwise known as, I'm bored and there's nothing else to play with in this gypsy clearing but a moldy old football.
"The budget meeting is in a few months, correct?" Jadhira asked adding another log to the fire.
Johan nodded. "With the economy the way it is, I think the budget will be shrinking. I'll have to cut corners and I hope I'll still be able to budget a field trip in."
"I hope so too, the children need to experience something beyond the borders of this tiny hood. Even a trip to Apple Valley Metro is better than nothing."
As thier parents debated the importance of experience in education, Myra and Naraj were having thier own debate of secret clubs versus secret societies.
"I think a secret society is better, there's secret handshakes and everything!"
"But secret clubs have membership cards."
"It doesn't matter since I'm gonna get in both."
"Not before I do."
When the Shazads were not having intense debates, they were learning new and exciting things. Johan was learning to use the stink ball bait to catch catfish.
Jadhira was learning to grill such catfish with vegetable skewers as well as learning the best method for putting out a coal fire.
Myra had convinced a local gypsy to teach her some basic fingering techniques on the violin, thankfully she lost interest in the instrument while the family's ears were still intact.
Naraj...well, Naraj was learning the all important male technique of complimenting a woman's cooking, while not visably gagging.
At first, it was peaceful. The breeze in the trees, the slight chill in the air and the sound of her children giggling. Then...the expected, but avoided, issue started.
Afterwards, instead of the typical cigarette, Johan offers more financial wisdom.
"Can you believe the rising price of flapjacks! I mean, they're basically pancakes, why charge twice as much for them!"
Jadhira sighed. It looked like her cheap husband would never change.
Just in case you couldn't tell, one of Johan's traits is that he's very frugal. The twins are shaping out to be...nerds. Cool popular nerds, but nerds nevertheless. They LOVE learning new skills and always want to stare at stars or learn some new cultural dance.
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
Antonio is 49, Carmela is 41, Verde is 14, Rojo is 8 and Serendipity is 4
The warm summer weather and lull in activities around the Herendez house was refreshing. Antonio was looking forward to his 50th birthday. Most men fear the dreaded 5-0, but not Antonio. He planned on moving into semi-retirement once he reached 65 and he promised Carmela that at 50, they would take a nice family vacation.
However, he wasn't 50 yet and there was work to be done. The weather was nice so he spent most of his time painting outdoors on the sundeck with little Serendipity watching with earnest. She would be turning 5 this month and the family had planned on a joint birthday party for Antonio and Serendipity.
"How is it going sweetheart?" Carmela asked joining the pair on the deck.
"Nice, I'm almost done with the background and can start on the foreground soon."
She nodded and then joined her daughter on the cool tile floor. "Are you excited about the birthday party?"
"Yea! Cake and balloons?"
"Yes, lots of cake and balloons."
Carmela was a little sad to see her youngest grow up so quickly, part of her wanted another baby, but time was running out and with three children...perhaps they should stop.
"And there's going to be a clown!!!" Carmela said to the giggling girl.
"I luf clowns!"
Verde and Rojo had a busy summer planned for them. Thier parents enrolled them in summer courses, thankfully they were able to chose what course they took. Rojo chose music therory, which wasn't surprising since he loved playing on his musical synthesizer and was starting to compose bits of tunes.
Verde chose a soccer camp, which also wasn't surprising since he loved sports with a passion. It wasn't a surprise that S'Ahmisa also enrolled in the class and that she was earning higher marks than Verde. The couple spent almost every afternoon agruing about it.
"That's because the coach likes you better."
"Whatever, that's because I'm better than you." She teased.
"You are not!"
"Verde, get over it." Rojo said passing the pair with his latest composition in hand. "S'Ahmisa is a better soccer player than you. All the kids in music therory say the same thing."
"What do you guys know, you're a bunch of band nerds." Verde retorted.
"We know that S'Ahmisa totally schooled you on the field yesterday with that last goal."
S'Ahmisa couldn't help but laugh as Verde chased his brother around the house.
Carmela was used to seeing S'Ahmisa over thier house every afternoon and many times she joined them for dinner as well. S'Ahmisa came from a good family, she was a trust fund baby, but wasn't a spoiled brat. Instead she was a caring young woman who was well liked in the neighborhood. Many times her younger sister, Si'Enya joined her and then Antonio would joke that maybe the kids would have a double wedding: Verde and S'Ahmisa and Rojo and Si'Enya.
Tonight, Carmela couldn't spend time chatting with the girl as she usually did after dinner. She was busy on the phone.
"I don't think disabling the website is a good idea...a website is a stable amoung SUN hoods." She discussed on conference call with Fiona and Rebecca.
S'Ahmisa wondered why the three women didn't just sit out by the grill and chat since they were all neighbors, but then she remembered that Fiona was on another business trip. Fiona was one of her distant relatives, so her daddy talked about the happenings of the Kent family quite a bit. Perhaps if she entered politics she would be able to travel the world like Fiona. S'Ahmisa knew that she had some time to think about her options for the future, but she honestly didn't know how everything would fit together. She loved to travel and after her trip to Jah Bal Bazaar she made a list of things she wanted to do and see while seeing the world.
"Besides the fact that we absolutely need Li's position to remain active, unless we want another large scale disaster on our hands, thier family can barely afford food."
They can't afford food? S'Ahmisa wondered. She thought about her fridge stocked with leftovers and being able to be picky about what they had for dinner. She knew that the economy was bad, but were some residents truly starving? There wasn't a way to find out if it was true or not, but S'Ahmisa planned on stopping by the Sweeny's to offer her babysitting services and perhaps some food. Wait, that was too obvious and lots of sims have thier pride, so perhaps she could ask for tutoring...yea, her daddy wasn't impressed with her language arts grade and Li was a writer and reporter, so perhaps she could get her to tutor her in exchange for free babysitting (and some food snuck into the fridge).
"How would residents find out thier news if there's no newspaper?" Carmela continued, trying to negoiate a happy medium.
"I suppose we could change the publication schedule, that would save on printing costs."
When Carmela wasn't trying to find ways to cut costs and not jobs, she was busy making plans for the large scale birthday party. Jadhira was helping her with the invitations and she managed to convince Nicole to use her drama background and play the role as a clown. Carmela was also using the job as an excuse to press a few simoleans in Nicole's hand. The entire island knew that the Humphrey family's finances were tight, they had to sell thier pets and even sell a few items on the internet to pay bills. It was beginning to look like Lyndon might have to find another job besides being the hood's pastor.
"Catering-check, balloons-check, cakes-check, clown-check...what am I forgetting?"
"Do you have the gifts?" Rojo asked, looking through a stack of CDs for the party.
"OH!!! I almost forgot!!!" she exclaimed and rushed out the door. "I'll be back in time for dinner!"
Despite the small hiccup, the party went well. There was plenty of cake for everyone and some latino tropical treats as well. Nicole did a wonderful job as the clown and after running home to change, she rejoined the party. The two women chatting over a game of Don't Wake the Llama.
Jadhira's help with the invitations proved crucial as she was able to get some school aged children to attend the event and Serendipity was able to start meeting new sims.
"My uncle is a doctor." Serendipity explained.
A double birthday party! How do you celebrate birthdays?
Friday, March 20, 2009
Recently a few of my sims have been rolling in the simoleans. Even with expensive property taxes they have plenty of money. This is my fault. Most of them are business owners and I had all business owners sell thier lots (1x3) and purchase 3-1x1 lots for thier businesses. Of course, the construction and furnishing everything was cheaper. Then I had several of them sell off thier extra businesses and focus only on one business. Since I was beginning to not enjoy the OFB concept since so many of my sims had thier own business or had several business lots to tend. Thus, sims have tons of money. I had one commission an university building, which leaves two more families with excess funds. Well, the Warwick family told me :P that they wanted to spend thier simoleans on vacations. So I obligied and now here's a peek into vacations in my hood.
If a sim purchases a poster, this is thier indication to me that they would like to travel to that location. The cost of the poster serves as thier deposit for the trip.
For example, if a sim buys poster #7, which is a ski vacation to Schatazweitzier Mountains (soon to be destined as a fall foliage vacation and the new Cusinaire Ridges (I'm a teacher :, all my other teachers will recognize the name) will become the winter vacation destination) , then once they get home, I book them for a vacation and allow them to stay in the ski resort. I only book the 3 day/2 night trip. It's the perfect amount of time to play in one play session and it syncs nicely with my one simday=one year aging in my hood. Of course, the sims can pretend that they were gone for longer :P
During thier vacation, I make sure they experience plenty of snow sports and snow ball fights.
Notice how tiny the terrain for Schatazweitzier Mountains is.
If a sim buys the same poster repeatedly, that serves as an indication that they would like to buy a vacation home there whenever possible.
This is what happened to the Warwicks. They went to Three Lakes (the precessor to Schatazweitzier Mountains) for thier honeymoon (http://thekentfamilyfujicourt.blogspot.com/2007/09/husband.html and http://sun-exchange-sandy-warwick.blogspot.com/2007/09/some-fotos.html). Then they took thier daughters there for a family vacation (http://thekentfamilyfujicourt.blogspot.com/2008/09/family-vacation.html and http://thekentfamilyfujicourt.blogspot.com/2008/09/more-family-vacation.html) and finally they rolled a want for buying a vacation home. They brought thier vacation home in none other than Schatazweitzier Mountains.
Some random vacation photo spam
Tiny Residential Cabin, available in Schatazweitzier Mountains for a small fee of $25,653. It's located on a 1x1 lot, features one bath and one loft bedroom (with double and twin bed), tiny kitchen and living room and room outside for a small garden...if my sims decide to stay here for a long while.
Larger Cabin, available in Schatazweitzier Mountains for a modest fee of $73,096. It's located on a fairly large 2x2 lot, features three bath and four bedrooms, large kitchen and family room and large living room with fireplace. This is actually the vacation home of the Warwick family I was speaking of earlier.
Jah Sal Bazaar, downloaded from Parsimonious and renovated for my purposes. The Warwicks just returned from thier holiday here. Located in my Tiki Isles tropical vacation destination, the bazaar is my interpetation of Arabia. The small outdoor market, colorful tents that also serve as sleeping tents, bright colors and wonderful foodstuffs. To be honest, it's still a little bare. I'm experimenting with leaving the lots bare instead of filling them with crappy items/concepts. In this lot the far right lower building is empty waiting for a purpose. Same thing for the top two middle levels. I do have a restroom, a resturaunt, DJ booth and bar taking up space in the middle two sections, hot tub on the roof, random easels and chess sets, bubble blower, store that sells clothing and perfume and the camping tents.
So if you have suggestions for this lot, let me know.
Jorge is 34, Jolie is 34, Grace Elise is 6
It's finally summer time in Apple Valley and the weather is much much warmer. Grace Elise loved kindergarten so much that she's counting down the days until first grade.
"Only a few more weeks right?" she asks during dinner.
"Yes, only a few more weeks."
Grace Elise has been busy this summer. She hasn't outgrown her tendency to go in the backyard at all hours of the night, it's very rare to find her not dancing to the newest song, catching fireflies or talking to the trees. Grace Elise has also started a tendency to talk to her imaginary sister. She really wants a sister, there are no kids in her subdivision, except for Si'Enya Warwick, but she's going to be a fourth grader, and fourth graders don't talk to first graders.
Jorge has noticed his daughter talking to her imaginary sister. He hopes that Jolie doesn't hear her since they have been trying for the past five years to give Grace Elise a sibling, but no such luck. The lack of a baby has sent Jolie into a bout of depression before and since her mother died recently, Jorge can't afford to risk Jolie being depressed again. Therapy is expensive! So he buys Grace Elise a dalmation, though one might wonder if the dog is more for him than his daughter.
Unfortunately, his plan doesn't work. Jolie overhears Grace Elise outside playing with the new dog, Puggles, and her imaginary sister.
"Look, sister dear, Puggles likes me better."
Jolie almost drops the plate of llamaberry pie to the floor.
"Ha, ha! Run, Puggles, run away from sister dear! She's going to catch you!"
Jorge finds his wife minutes later brawling to the point of hiccups.
"She-she's gone!" Jolie wailed. "Daddy's g-gone too!!! And-and-st-still no ba-baby!!!!"
Jorge comforts his wife the best way he knows how.
Jolie has to make an apprearence at the new Jonagold Shoppes II to visit the Cooking Face-Off. She's written a few cookbooks and has a culinary column in the newspaper, so her duties as a minor celebrity baker include showing up at various events. Today's event was a charity cookoff.
She entered a new recipe, Curry Salmon over Rice. As part of the event, she started off with a cooking demonstration of the recipe in the food kitchen.
Then it was up to the showcase hall to place her recipe with other entries. It was evident that she would win, especially with one of the entries being cherry geletin with fruit bits and another being croissants. The only competition was Banana Caramel Tarts. She had to admit that they were stiff competition. That's the only thing about such competitions, there are no divisions. No such desserts division, or entree division. No, every entry under the sun is accepted.
So she waited like the other contestants as the judge came around. The audience was silent with tension. The admission proceeds were going towards the Food Expo's Feed a Hunger Program. That reminded her, she needed to get her Food Expo speech ready. Jolie was so deep in thought about if she should speak about baking techniques or low sugar sweets, that she barely registered that she won first place until the audience was on its feet cheering.
While Jolie was off winning blue ribbons, Jorge was playing a game of cards with a new set of friends. Names were not exchanged and thankfully neither were simoleans as his new friends were a brutal group of card players. Thankfully they shared a few tricks with him before Jolie came to claim her husband for a quick drink and dance.
"How was the competition?" Jorge asked.
"The same as usual, I talked, I cooked, I won."
"I guess it's hard being the best, huh?" he joked.
Jolie smiled. She knew that she was barely holding onto her title as the best chef in the hood. Ginger Grey apparently knew a thing or two about flavors and textures in the kitchen. Thankfully, she preferred feeding her family and friends and not entering competitions, but the rumor was that she was considering entering a competition soon. If Ginger really was as good as the rumors implied then Jolie needed to spend some more time behind the stove, but of course her job prevented much free cooking time. Sweating behind the stove at CupaJava making great desserts made a nice salary, but ate away her freetime, while Ginger...Ginger stayed at home all day, free to experiment with the freshest ingredients from her farm.
Jorge could see the wheels turning behind his wife's head, so he grabbed her close.
"Let's dance." He said.
Jolie smiled, Jorge was a great dancer and always perferred having fun as opposed to debating the serious issues of the relationship of whisk shape to performance. The dance was over all too soon as Jorge's alarm rang, signaling it was time to pick Grace Elise up from the summer day program.
The couple barely made it to the courtyard when Grace Elise came running towards them.
"Swing me, daddy! Swing me!"
Jolie smiled behind a curtain of tears. How she longed to have another little one...but time was running out.
Jolie wants a baby badly and they have been trying with risky woohoo and ACR, but still no baby. They're young too, so I don't know what's going on.